A self-styled faith healer held for raping Punjab woman
A Chandigarh-based pastor and self-styled faith healer has been arrested for allegedly raping a Zirakpur woman.
Accused Bajinder Singh, 36, president of The Church of Glory and Wisdom, Chandigarh, and known among his followers as Prophet Bajinder Singh Ministry, was arrested at the Delhi airport when he was about to board a flight to London where he was scheduled to attend a healing event on July 21.
He was produced before a Mohali court on Thursday and sent to two-day police remand.
Bajinder is married and has two daughters — a six-year-old and an 18-month-old.
The victim, a resident of Zirakpur who runs a ‘dhaba’ (roadside eatery) there, told police that Bajinder came in contact with her in 2017 and lured her on the pretext of taking her board.
Victim part of his security team
Police said the woman became a part of his team of volunteers who looked after security at his events.
The victim alleged Bajinder raped her at his house in Sector 63, Chandigarh, and even recorded a video of the sexual assault. She said the accused threatened to post the video on social media if she complained or did not agree to his demands.
“We had received a complaint of rape from the woman in April 2018. The accused had been on the run since then, following which we got a lookout notice issued against him. He was nabbed while trying to leave for England,” said inspector Pawan Kumar, Zirakpur station house officer (SHO).
The SHO said the victim had paid ₹3 lakh to the accused and even made another person, Jatinder, pay an equal amount to him for going abroad. The pastor’s aides — Jatinder, Akbar, Sartar Ali, Sucha Singh, Rajesh Chaudhary and Sandeep Pehlwan — have also been named in the FIR. They too allegedly assaulted her.
A case has been registered under Sections 376 (rape), 420 (cheating), 354 (outraging modesty of woman), 294 (obscenity), 323 (causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Section 67 (transmitting sexually explicit content) of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
Converted while in jail for murder
Born into a Jat family in Haryana’s Yamunanagar, Bajinder converted to Christianity when he was lodged in jail in a murder case.
“During his stay in the jail, he came in contact with a pastor and got inclined towards Christianity. He used to read Bible daily and got converted,” said police officials privy to the investigations.
A close associate, who was not willing to be named, said Bajinder started holding Sunday prayer meetings for healing in 2012. At least 2,000 people attend the prayer meeting every Sunday, he said.
Bajinder moved to Chandigarh in 2015 and was staying in a society in Sector 48 before shifting to the housing board flats in Sector 63, where he had allegedly raped the victim.
The pastor claims to have healed even HIV infection and had a YouTube channel with 1.37 lakh subscribers.